Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thank You Human Spirit

Last month the Tri state area was hit by Hurricane Sandy or Superstorm Sandy as others have called it. What ever the name what is certain is that the damage that was cause by this storm was unimaginable to the people in the northeast especially after last years hype over Hurricane Irene. I stayed away from watching much television while the storm was happening because the news loves to give minute by minute updates of the same thing, but once I started to see houses destroyed like they were in a tornado or in the vicinity where a bomb was dropped, I knew this was going to be different. It was difficult to wrap my mind around the idea of neighborhoods in the northeast being destroyed by a hurricane, that just doesn't happen in New York or at least it hasn't in my lifetime. At work we were already given two days off following the storm because of the system wide shutdown of the mta, however, when it was reported that the tunnels were flooded and it could take days to get it out I became affected by this storm although not on the level of hundreds of New Yorkers in Staten Island and Breezy point, Queens. In a matter of hours emerged a Tale of two cities; one city where its inhabitants had power and no damage to their homes and another city where houses were demolished from flood waters, powerful winds or unexpected fires. As options became available to travel to work, the anticipation of chaos, disorganization and stress became a reality once anyone came to the Barclay's center on Atlantic avenue. Lines held together with no barricades zig zagged into a straight line of bunched individuals that seemed to wrap around the stadium. Some people decided to forgo order and head to the front of the line where buses were being filled to its capacity to transport what seemed to be lost souls over the Manhattan bridge into a different looking lower Manhattan highlighted by no lights, gates pulled down on stores and traffic cops at every intersection directing cars and buses uptown to limited train service in midtown. As difficult and stress filled the morning commute was, the realization that the trip home had to be made was anxiety producing. After a work day that was mainly about the unbelievable devastation caused by Sandy, New Yorkers made their way to pick up points throughout the city to catch a shuttle bus back across the bridge into Brooklyn. The long lines were the same only the people were different. Several buses passed filled with people looking at those outside standing on line with little remorse because they were in that same position earlier. As the buses were filled to capacity, those who got seats were the lucky ones avoiding the shoulder to shoulder ride back through the powerless lower Manhattan. Things felt normal once I reached my apartment, I had power my family was safe and so were my friends. School was canceled for me, that coupled with the changes in transportation were the only ways this storm affected me. For thousands of residents in the tri state area, however, their difficulties were just beginning. Moving into shelters, losing loved ones, feelings of loss and abandonment all became a reality for people only a few miles from East New York, my safe haven. Even as I'm writing this blog post families are still trying to figure out their next move. I didn't know what to expect from this storm but I did find out plenty about New York and how we are able to adjust to any hardship thrown our way the same goes for folks across the Hudson. On this Thanksgiving day I am most thankful for the human spirit that provides aid when needed. Whether it be to a telethon or handing out food in Far Rockaway. The human spirit that is in most NYPD officers who interact with thousands of New Yorkers and out of towners looking for guidance in a city that will swallow you whole if you aren't careful. The human spirit that is present in MTA workers, my Dad being one, who deal with being the scapegoats at times for fare increases implemented by executives in tailored suits. These men and women work on holidays like today to bring us to our families throughout the city. The human spirit that is in college students old and young struggling with papers and exams to attain that degree and slice of American pumpkin pie. The human spirit in those who have suffered loss of loved ones and property but still have the resolve to plan a brighter future. And to the rest of the people who envision a better life for themselves I leave you with this; enjoy today, forget yesterday and conquer 2morerow.

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